What is a heat wave?
Overall, a heat wave is a quite prolonged period under oppressively hot weather. It may come along with high humidity levels, particularly in some countries with oceanic climate.
However, the concept of heat wave can vary, it is also measured with relation to the usual weather in an area as well as to average temperatures in one specific season. Therefore, it is the fact that temperatures, which is normal to people in a hotter climate, can be regarded as a heat wave in other cooler areas.
Why is heat wave dangerous?
It is obvious that heat wave is not good at all for our health. High temperatures or sun exposure can carry real dangers for our health, especially for anyone with high heat and temperature sensitivity.
However, when it comes to heat wave, it is not only about the heat but also about the humidity levels. If there are tremendously high temperatures and high humidity at the same time, you probably sweat a lot but the point is that the sweat cannot be dry easily. That is why you may get sick after a period of time in that kind of weather.
Keep in mind that one of the most important things for us in the hot climate is the ability to sweat. This can help our body adapt to the weather when the heat gets overwhelmed.
Unfortunately, some people have serious problems with their perspiration, so their body cannot adapt to the hot weather as well as the others. Therefore, there is no cooling effect for them, so the heat exhaustion now turns into heat stroke, which is very dangerous for us.
Nonetheless, not everyone cares about heat wave and its effects on health. Keep in mind that the older you get, the more difficult for you to handle with heat due to the increased vulnerability. That is also the reason why you should take into consideration the indoor quality and learn how to survive a heat wave.
Who is the most vulnerable one to heat wave?
Although a heat wave can affect everyone, especially in excessively hot weather, these people are at the higher risk heat exhaustion or heat stroke:
* Infants and children
* Anyone with a serious chronic condition related to breathing or heart problems
* The elders, particularly those over 70
* People with mobility problems – for example, people with Parkinson's disease or who have had a stroke
* Anyone who is physically active such as laborers or athletes.
* Anyone on certain medications affecting temperature control and perspiration
* Anyone who has serious problems with mental health
* Anyone addicted to drugs as well as alcohol
How to survive a heat wave
Now, you may understand about heat wave and its bad effects on health but don't worry because we are here to help you. This article will show you how to survive a heat wave and after that, you can determine if your indoor air quality is bad.
In details, I will mention two individual methods for this problems: how to prepare your house before a heat wave occurs.
Keep the house cool all the times with an air conditioner
In general, staying inside may help avoid becoming dehydrated. However, without an air conditioner, it is not much different from going outside, especially when the heat wave occurs. Therefore, you need to keep your house at the most comfortable temperature during the spring time.
In this situation, an air conditioner is very helpful for you, it will keep the indoor air at the most comfortable level not only in spring but also in other seasons. That is why you should buy one and remember to clean it frequently to make sure that it is running at its best.
Use dehumidifiers or fans
If you do not have an air conditioner or enough time to install one, don't worry because you can completely use a dehumidifier to keep the house cool. In fact, it can easily keep the darn humidity at an acceptable level, therefore, making your house cooler.
Remember to cover all windows where the sun light passes through in morning and afternoon.
Even there are reflectors, it is still a good idea to cover all the windows, which often receive a lot of sun light, with louvers, shades, drapes, or awnings. After that, remember to keep all the heat and light blocking drapes closed on the inside. But if you have outdoor louvers or awnings, it will be much useful to reduce the heat that enters your house up to about 80 %.
Always keep the storm windows up all year long.
You should think about keeping all the storm windows up all year long, not only during a heat wave. You can think of them as the layers of insulation between the heat outside and you. Therefore, they can help you keep the heat out of your home, just like they help to keep the heat in, and the cold out in the winter.
Drink more water but not too much
You may think that drinking a lot of water can be the solution in order to reduce the risk of dehydration. However, according to many experts, too much water is not good at all. It is because too much water can dilute the sodium in your own body, therefore, resulting in low blood pressure.
In addition, drink up but avoid alcohol and caffeine because they are the main factors which can dehydrate your body. In fact, it is highly recommended for you to drink a mix of non- alcoholic and non- caffeinated fluids (including water) to ensure the level of electrolytes.
It is also important for you to eat lighter meals than usual when a heat wave occurs. The reason is that if you eat heavy meals, your body has to work much harder to digest all the foods, such as meat or eggs. This will lead to the generation of more body heat, which is harmful to your health, not mention to the heat wave.
Therefore, keep in mind that you have to eat lighter in the summer, for examples, eat more vegetables and avoid meat as well as other hard-to-digest foods.
Cover yourself up
A prolonged period of time of exposure to the sunlight or heat wave can probably damage your skin terribly, making it more sensitive than that of others. That is the reason why protecting yourself is more important now than ever in hot weather.
Remember to avoid heavy clothing and wear loose-fitting, light colored, and lightweight clothing. For examples, you should wear clothing made of natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, and hemp. Besides, using specialized sunglasses with an SPF of 30 or even higher to block both UVB and UVA rays. Furthermore, any time you go out in the sun, just wear a proper hat which can help your skin breathe better.
Do Exercises at the Right Times and do not overly exert your body.
Although anyone who plays sports a lot need to care about heat wave more but it does not mean that you should not exercise in the summer when you completely can. It is not wrong about doing exercises if you can make sure that you are doing it properly.
More specifically, you should not do exercises at the hottest time of day like the noon if no one forces you to do so. Early morning and early evening or any time of day when the sun is not too strong can be the perfect time for you to do some and if you can, do this inside.
However, do not work out for too long because strenuous work will dehydrate you. And you never want it to happen when you are already hydrated in such weather. If you feel overheated or something not good while exercising like your heart is pounding or you are short of breath, then stop it now.
Last but not least, consider wearing clothing made of synthetic sports fabrics which are specially designed to wick away perspiration.